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Sunday, April 18, 2021

SADC heads to lauch FTA at summit

General News SADC heads to lauch FTA at summit

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will launch the region’s Free Trade Area (FTA) Sunday in an effort to deepen long-term economic integration.

To be held under the theme, “Free Trade Area for growth, development and wealth creation,” the 28th SADC summit will be held in Sandton, near Johannesburg, on Saturday and Sunday.

It will be preceded by the Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday and Friday, and the meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration on Wednesday.

Briefing reporters here Tuesday ahead of the summit, South African Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mphahlwa said the launch of the FTA would formalize the elimination of trade tariffs among SADC member states, enhance economic integration and create bigger regional markets.

“The launch of the FTA is the beginning of a process we need to embark on to build both our productive and trade capacity, improve competitiveness of our industries and address the supply-side constrains that inhabit us from benefiting our agriculture and industrial base to promote intra-regional trade,” said Mphahlwa.

The launch of the FTA comes after the adoption of the 1996 Maseru Trade Protocol, which entered into force in January 2000 that paved a way for the FTA over a period of eight years.

Mphahlwa told reporters that the FTA has been noted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and an examination was done during the meeting of the WTO Committee on Regional Trade Agreements held in May 2007 in Geneva.

He added that more work needed to be done to consolidate the FTA and make it work by addressing non tariff barriers, including trade facilitation measures, harmonizing industrial and competition policies and liberalizing of trade in services.

“The focus going forward should be on addressing the real economic constraints that hinder deeper integration in our region,” Mphahlwa explained.

He added that infrastructure development was also an essential element for creating conditions that would advise the integrating agenda and would need to be prioritized.

The SADC comprises Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In the economic front, the performance was satisfactory in 2007and prospects for 2008 are generally good. Considerable progress has been made in attaining reasonable levels of economic growth in the region with economic growth remaining strong while inflation continued to go down.

According to the SADC Secretariat, most countries have recorded positive growth for five consecutive years, and substantial economic growth is registered in Angola with 19.8 per cent, followed by Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

However, the level attained in economic growth falls short of the regional target, which was set at 7.0 per cent for 2008. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased on average by 5.9 per cent in 2007, the same growth rate achieved in 2006.

The majority of the SADC member states have witnessed improvements in fiscal performance with declining fiscal deficits, which are the results of pursuing prudent fiscal policies and the initiative of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries, which are benefiting the member states.

The region has also witnessed substantial improvement in debt position but the current accounts of the balance of payments got worse in 2007 amid rising imports despite reasonable boost in exports.

Elaborating on some of the issues to be on the agenda during the summit, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad said other issues to be discussed would include electricity availability in the region as power deficits would persist between 2008 and 2012; social development especially relating to AIDS/HIV initiatives in the region and gender development.

He said the summit would also discuss the financing and construction of the new SADC headquarters.

The summit will also see President Thabo Mbeki taking over the Chairmanship of the regional organization from Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa.

ZANIS/NNN-BUANEWS/ENDS/MM

22 COMMENTS

  1. You educated people out there ..can you educate me please. Does this FTA mean that I would be able to buy a PC in SA , sell it in Zambia and then buy hair braids in Zambia and sell them to SA women with short hair and not pay customs in all these transactions?

  2. thanx #2 for the clarification.any other bloggers with more info would do well to simplify further this FTA arrangement and its implications.

  3. I am for the FTA but the country that will benefit the most from this agreement is South Africa because it is the most industrialized country in SADC.

    I do however think that if they want to ease transportation of goods, they should either build a super 6 lane highway from Cape town to Dar es Salaam. Or they should build electric train infrastructure from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam.

    However this is a good move.

  4. This FTA thing isn’t very clear to us who aren’t economists. My guess is that a country that exports more in SADC than imports will benefit. And clearly that’s RSA but Zed would have a share of it if we put import tarrifs on all RSA’s agricultural produces so that we don’t kill our agriculture as Kafupi once did. Ironically RSA fruits will cost more in shoprite than our own at Kamwala, soweto, chisokone, masala etc markets. But we need fruits so we should invest in research to enable our farmers produce good fruits

  5. #5. Gershom-New Zealand

    You can also make the situation in which you benefit from importing fruits from South Africa.

    What you can do is import the fruits, make drinks and jams and what not and export the stuff to South Africa at a higher price. In short, you import fruits, turn them into something and export that something back to South Africa at a higher price.

    We can do it. All we have to do is think outside the box.

  6. Perhaps it will go one further than COMESA and prod Zambia and other SADC countries to be proactive in their respective industries.

  7. clearly this will be a one way traffic, with the winner being South Africa. Whatever goods will be exported to South Africa from Zambia will most likely be made by a South African Company based in Zambia. So in short it will be south africa exporting to south africa and enjoying FTA

  8. I wonder what Zambia achieved as a chair of SADC. Is there any perfomance assessment for a country that holds the chair? Or all in all what is the advantage of being a chair to SADC. Why not have a headquarters like it is with the United nations.

  9. I have heard of these rubish things several times, AU Meeting,SADC,COMESA,there was onother meeting just recently when jacob zuma came to zambia and now FTA. they always tok about the same rubish but i don’t see the outcome, all i know is that, we are wasting a lot of money holding these meetings and travelling out of the country with the president accompanied by the wife and several cabinet miniters and when they come back, they are given allowances for doing nothing.can someone out there shed more imfor on the out come of these meetings,may be am in total darkness.

  10. what are the implications of zambia having dual membership to two free trade areas, ie COMESA and SADC?? is it feasible??

  11. You are welcome #3! #13- It’s very difficult to see any substance in these meetings at present or in the short run. However, some of these meetings encourage leaders to step do down when there tenure of office is over(google the Mo Ibrahim Foundation & price of leadership) as an example.
    Additionally, you may realise that we are moving towards intergration and in the near future we in southern Africa will have a single currency and operate like the EU.
    As for us to survive the FTA, i feel we should look at our Comparative advantage and restrategise ourselves.

  12. My prayer is that let the intergration not lead is to having one currency because by doing so some of the biblical principles will be fulfilled. Beware of 666 in the book of revelation. Otherwise remain strong in the Lord otherwise we are doomed.

  13. Why all these funny treaties around.. which dont even make sense or have any bearing to the development of our economy? As long as we these crope of leaders leading these organisations in Zambia, its all wastage of resources. They lack skills and knowledge to take these things for greater height.

  14. This is not going to be of any benefit to Zambia…anyway,children of God,these are signs of the time!they will seek to unite the world and make you use one currency and eventually declare one day of worship!when such things happen,look up for your redemption drwas nigh!am not surprised despite that this FTA won’t help us but His word has to come to pass !Amen..

  15. This is not going to be of any benefit to Zambia…anyway,children of God,these are signs of the time!they will seek to unite the world and make you use one currency and eventually declare one day of worship!when such things happen,look up for your redemption draws nigh!am not surprised despite that this FTA won’t help us but His word has to come to pass !Amen..

  16. This is not going to be of any benefit to Zambia…anyway,children of God,these are signs of the time!they will seek to unite the world and make you use one currency and eventually declare one day of worship!when such things happen,look up for your redemption draws nigh!am not surprised despite that this FTA won’t help us but His word has to come to pass !Amen..children of God be wise and prayerful…things are happening all around you!

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